Student Spotlight - Christine Barilleaux
A senior at Miami University in Ohio, Christine Barilleaux grew tired of the Left-wing feminists on her campus having a monopoly on women. She decided to take action by starting her own women’s group: the True Feminists of Miami University. This group embodies the idea that women are equal to, yet different from, men and should be given the same rights as men without having to behave like men. It is also a feminism that values the dignity and rights of every human person, including the unborn child. It is both pro-woman and pro-child.
Christine recently participated in Luce’s V-Day Unveiled project on her campus to speak out against the vulgar play, “The Vagina Monologues,” by displaying posters and materials provided by the Luce Policy Institute, as well as hosting a campus lecture by Nonie Darwish, who talked about the failures of the American feminist movement. We spoke with Christine to find out more about her activism on campus:
Luce: How did you become a conservative?
Christine: I grew up in a conservative family, but my Dad is a professor at the university, so we were always around liberals. However, this just reinforced my desire to be a conservative.
Luce: As a conservative, what challenges do you face at your school?
Christine: In the classroom, many of the social sciences have a decidedly liberal slant. Outside the classroom, conservatism seems to be the minority, or at least, the more clandestine side. My first few years in college I was content to be the quiet minority, but as I’ve gotten older and become more comfortable speaking, I’ve learned how to argue for conservative viewpoints. Starting up True Feminists has been a challenge because we are so small and because the minute we put something up - signs, information, etc - people tear them down or write on them. They’d NEVER do that to something liberal.
Luce: What is your most memorable activist experience?
Christine: The first meeting of True Feminists—we had several people show up from liberal/radical feminist organizations and try to smoke us out by telling us how wrong we were. With the help of the few other True Feminists in the room, we shot down their arguments…and even opened up the possibility for event collaboration in the future.
Luce: Tell us about your experience with hosting a Luce campus lecture
Christine: Our group, the True Feminists of Miami University, brought Nonie Darwish to our campus. She was one of the most articulate and compelling speakers I've heard discuss what real feminism is and how the mainstream feminist movement in the US has strayed far from its original objectives. Her lecture definitely got people talking, and taking note of the fact that liberals aren’t the only ones who can be diverse, open-minded, and fight for positive change!
Luce: Who is your favorite conservative woman leader and why?
Christine: I’m actually still just beginning to discover all the amazing conservative women leaders who are out there, and I don’t really feel qualified to call this one yet! I can say, however, that Mother Teresa has always been an inspiration to me, for her outstanding example of what compassion and self-sacrifice can do for the world. I also just recently found out about Anna Julia Cooper, an African-American woman, who rose out of poverty and racial oppression to educate herself and others, and who demonstrated that the innate power women have allows them to contribute uniquely to society. This power is equal to, yet complimentary to, the ways men contribute!
Luce: What advice would you give other conservative students?
Christine: Don’t back down from your arguments. Learn as much as you can about the issues you are concerned about, and discuss them with people. Be open-minded because many liberals won’t be. Learn how to argue objectively and rationally so people will listen to you. Never let your emotions get in the way of an argument; remain calm at all times. It’s often the person who can’t keep their emotions in check who loses an argument! Seek out other conservatives and form networks (we call ours “The Trust”). Don’t be afraid to be provocative (in an appropriate way) to get your message out there.
Luce: Where do you hope to be in 10 years?
Christine: My goal is to be a dietitian for the Military or for some type of humanitarian aid such as Catholic Relief Services. We’ll see!